the coffee wasn't bad

what kept us coming back
was that there was never a line
...and the lack of human investment

no one ever asked us how we're doing
what our plans were for the day,
the night,
the weekend.

we looked into their eyes
and saw the wall right behind them

no, it wasn't like much of the neighborhood --
come to think of it,
it wasn't anything like the rest of the neighborhood;
a sliver away from comically harsh

but it wasn't trying to be apart of the neighborhood;
no local ceramics,
tear-off ads for piano lessons

no one ever asked for our names --
this was never a place we'd let
our excitement percolate

deliver us
our large coffee;
half Ethiopian, half decaf --
trying to manage our anxiety

the first time they came in,
we thought they were yelpers--
you can usually spot them from a mile away

that gaze- 
severe, with no eye contact.
the way they studied the menu
hands buried in their pockets; 
never to leave their sides

wasn't until a few months in 
that we realized they're regulars

always paid cash
we never got a chance to 
catch the name on their card
and now too much time has gone by
and we don't have the heart to inform
we don't serve decaf

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